Sika UK has been supporting the award winning, Preston Vocational Centre (PVC) since 2019. The center provides vocational training in a range of disciplines for young people and adults who are not in employment or training. The center which won the Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs) for ‘The Educational Establishment of the Year' in 2021 also provides wrap around care for the center users, supporting with job applications, interview techniques and other life skills.

Community Engagement with the Preston Vocational Center, UK

Helping to advance the education of children, young people and adults in the local neighborhood

The team at the Preston Vocational Center (PVC) teaches a variety of professional trades, (including brick laying joinery, plastering, painting and decorating and plumbing) work with local schools and partner organizations, to give young people who, for whatever reason, have struggled with mainstream education, a brighter future.

They use an innovative approach to engage young learners and since their inception in 2009, more than 8,000 people have come through their doors, gaining professional skills, crucial life lessons and in many cases qualifications that have led to future career opportunities that would otherwise have been inaccessible to them. PVC also provide so-called "Have a go days" where local people can try a variety of trades such as plastering, decorating, or bricklaying and deliver a Twilight project which targets young people at risk of offending or knife crime. These sessions are held in the evenings to keep the students occupied and safe when they would otherwise be at most risk.

Sika has for four consecutive years sponsored PVC’s Volunteer of the Year Award and provided sealants and other Sika materials for all of PVCs Award winners to help them continue in the construction industry after leaving PVC. Some of the school aged center users have visited Sika’s facilities at Preston   gaining valuable insights into the wide range of career opportunities with a potential employer of this size, whilst receiving hands-on application training session for Sika’s Liquid Applied Roofing materials, a discipline that PVC are unable to offer. 

"Sika is committed to supporting local communities and to raising the professional chances of young people, especially through construction related skills, which reflects our alignment to UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education. As there is a labor and skills shortage in the UK construction industry, working with facilities like PVC to help engage their students in construction skills and earn vocational qualifications is vital for a more sustainable future of the industry." Sarah Peake, Sustainability Manager, Sika UK

To complement this, during the Sika Business School Sustainability Academy, which was held at Preston, the Academy delegates visited PVC, getting to meet some of the center users, and discuss sustainability and the global construction industry with them whilst trying out some of the training offered by the center.  

To mark the occasion, at the end of the delegates visit to PVC, Sika presented Martin Grayston, Center Manager, with a surprise donation of £3,000.

"It was a fabulous honour to welcome Sika colleagues in person. They have been incredible supporters of PVC for many years, providing training, graduate awards, tools and materials. This surprise financial donation is most welcome. It will go a long way to boosting the life chances of more local young people in Preston and beyond, who aspire to a career in construction." Martin Grayston, Managing Director at Preston Vocational Centre

Sika believes in the power of continued engagement and relationships and is already looking to provide further support for PVC with additional taster roofing trainings throughout 2023 and beyond.